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John J. Bates
Jeffrey L. Privette
Edward J. Kearns
Walter Glance
, and
Xuepeng Zhao


The key objective of the NOAA Climate Data Record (CDR) program is the sustained production of high-quality, multidecadal time series data describing the global atmosphere, oceans, and land surface that can be used for informed decision-making. The challenges of a long-term program of sustaining CDRs, as contrasted with short-term efforts of traditional 3-yr research programs, are substantial. The sustained production of CDRs requires collaboration between experts in the climate community, data management, and software development and maintenance. It is also informed by scientific application and associated user feedback on the accessibility and usability of the produced CDRs. The CDR program has developed a metric for assessing the maturity of CDRs with respect to data management, software, and user application and applied it to over 30 CDRs. The main lesson learned over the past 7 years is that a rigorous team approach to data management, employing subject matter experts at every step, is critical to open and transparent production. This approach also makes it much easier to support the needs of users who want near-real-time production of CDRs for monitoring and users who want to use CDRs for tailored, derived information, such as a drought index.

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